Moving Up The Ladder: Why Successful Workplaces Are Putting Women In The Lead
Most business owners and HR professionals know that a diversified workplace has significant benefits, and gender diversity is critical. But do you know that the diversity of your firm compared to your competitors can affect your overall business success?
If you are a woman in this industry or thinking about entering, you’ll want to read this.
Having more women in key leadership roles isn’t just a good HR policy; it’s also directly related to the success of your business, according to a recent study from DDI and The Conference Board, titled The Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2014 | 2015, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s Business Challenges.
The study examined 13,124 global leaders and 1,528 human resource executives representing 32 different industries from 48 countries. Of the 2,031 participating organizations, those in the top 20% of financial performance indicated significantly higher numbers of women in leadership positons.
Of the top 20% of surveyed businesses, the count of women in leadership positions was 37%, while those in the bottom 20% reported only 19%. The same went for women considered to have a “high potential” for leadership capabilities (or above-average employees with the potential to move into leadership roles).
|Firm’s Financial Standing||Women as Leaders||Women as “High Potential”|
Women In Print: Still Room For Improvement
When we compare these findings to the printing industry, numbers indicate that although we fall slightly below average, there have been strong improvements in the number of women leaders in print.
Take a look at the 2013 Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) Key HR Metrics report, which analyzed 27 different graphic arts companies recognized for their outstanding human relations efforts that contribute to a successful workplace. The average percent of women in management positions at BWA award-winning companies was 26.4 or 33.4% less when compared to the DDI study of world-wide companies. While men in management positions averaged at 73.6%.
(If your company has an outstanding HR program, consider entering the BWA competition. Learn more at www.printing.org/bwa.)
Similar results are shown in the 2011 Visual Communications Journal study of 349 women in the industry by Dr. Twyla J. Cummings, Senior Associate Dean and Professor, Graduate Executive Board Advisor, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology (posted on the PrintMediaCentr.com blog in July 2014). It indicates some key trends on how women are positioned in our industry today as compared to the findings of a similar study done in 2000.
Here are just a few of the significant findings:
- More women have titles of Sr. Manager/Owner and Middle Manager compared to the 2000 study. There was a drop in the reported number for Sales/Marketing, Customer Service, Education, Computer Technology, Accounting, and other.
- Compared to the 2000 study, more women are working at small firms (with 50 or fewer employees) and large firms (500+ employees). There was a drop in reported numbers for women working at firms with between 51–500 employees.
- Respondents indicated that the percent of women at their firms increased at larger firms (21+ employees), compared to smaller firms (20 or fewer employees).
- Respondents indicated that more women held management positions at firms with 10+ employees; however, there was a drop for firms with less than 10 employees.
- On the issue of “problems encountered during career,” increases were reported in “passed over for promotion,” “pay inequality,” and “sexual harassment.” Decreases were reported for “resentment from male counterparts” and “other.”
Read the full report here.
What We Can Learn
Overall these new studies indicate that while there are greater, exciting opportunities for female leaders in printing and graphic arts firms today, graphic arts companies still have room to improve. The Best Workplace in the Americas Award winners, which represent some of the top industry companies, are leading the way. But women still have major hurdles to jump before the playing field is level.
Although these issues are not at all exclusive to the printing industry, we need to work to:
- Increase the number of qualified female leaders
- Create an equal-opportunity environment that cultivates the diverse talents of everyone
We’ve come a long way from a once predominately male skewed workforce, and the inclusion of more women in the graphic arts workforce, especially as executives, has created many positive effects, including a wider range of perspectives and problem-solving skills. These factors lead to a greater competitive advantage.
Announcement: Congratulations to all of the 2014-2015 PGSF Scholarship recipients. See the list of future graphic arts leaders, including 117 young women, here.
Will today’s female graphic arts students be the ones to create more positive change in the future? How can we ensure women have equal opportunities? Share your thoughts here!